Increase Your Home's Value

Heed these 8 suggestions from real estate pros to ensure your property fetches the highest possible price.


I’m no real estate investor, but I’ve bought and sold two houses in my time (one on my own and one with an agent), and what I can tell you from those experiences is that little things mean a lot when it comes to selling your home and getting a great price for it.

But if everything counts and you have only so much time and money to invest, how do you know where to start to get your home for-sale ready and to fetch the best price?

The good folks at Consumer Reports National Research Center set out to answer just that, with an online survey of 303 real estate professionals from around the country.

As we head into the hottest selling months and with 5.3 million homes expected to change hands this year, we thought it might be nice to get our own answers to help you leverage all you can against the competition.

1. Stage and declutter your home

One of the panel members Consumer Reports consulted was the former executive producer for This Old House, Massachusetts real estate agent and renovation consultant Bruce Irving.

(He knows his stuff: the guy has been interviewed by Oprah protégé Nate Berkus, and The New York Times called him “the house whisperer.”)

“Do all the work necessary to make your property look good, not through expensive changes but through excellent staging,” says Irving. “Your agent should be able to provide proper advice and even bring in a professional.”

That means clearing out clutter.

“I have a gal who I send into listings to declutter and depersonalize for sellers and just tidy things up using the sellers’ own possessions for the most part,” says Karen Wallace, an agent with Lyon Real Estate, located in Auburn, CA.

Tara Miller of Tarabell’s Designs in Portland, OR, is just such a gal. She helps homeowners and agents stage their houses for maximum sales appeal.

Miller points out that people who don’t keep up on needed repairs end up spending the most when it comes time to readying a home for sale.